Seven hundred students from 36 high schools in San Diego, LosAngeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties in SouthernCalifornia will drift into Lake Skinner in Temecula, California for theeighth-annual Solar Cup competition, May 14-16.
The largest solar-powered boat competition in the U.S., which in previous years has attracted thousands of spectators, features high school studentsbraving choppy waters on solar-powered, single-seat water crafts.
The event begins next Friday, when a technical advisory team fromnearby Occidental College will inspect the entrants’ crafts to ensurethey’re fit for competition. To be eligible, the boats must be poweredwith solar energy. Saturday will be highlighted by a 1.6-kilometerendurance competition and Sunday brings the event to an end with200-meter sprint races. Awards will be given for race winners, for “most colorful” boat and for the best 30-second video on water conservation,which each school will produce.
The weekend-long competition is the culmination of a seven-monthprogram in which the thirty-six high schools partnered with theMetropolitan Water District of Southern California. In addition to therequisite skills needed to design and build their boats, participatingstudents learn about water conservation, with special attention given to Southern California’s dwindling water reserve level, which is downroughly 50 percent since 2006.